Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, was due to chair a meeting of the Government’s crisis committee Cobra in response to the bad weather and power cuts.

Signature sows more confusion

The Maxwell Trial: 18

Maxwell aides to take stand

TWO former directors of Maxwell Communication Corporation, Peter Laister and Basil Brookes, are due to enter the witness box this week in the trial of brothers Kevin and Ian Maxwell, Larry Trachtenberg and Robert Bunn.

Television / Till sleaze do them part

FLORA MATLOCK comes from good country stock. The kind of stock you get by simmering large jawbones for two or three centuries. At Cambridge she met Duncan, a grammar-school boy, and was attracted by "his intellect, his commitment and his moral base". Wanting a career where he could use all three, Duncan naturally became a Tory MP and Flora became The Politician's Wife (C4).


Is 'Fawlty Towers' the best British television comedy ever written? To mark its return to BBC1 tonight, John Cleese tells Andrew Davidson in a rare interview how Basil and Manuel were created and why he will never write about them again

Obituary: Basil Skinner

Basil Chisholm Skinner, historian: born Edinburgh 7 November 1923; Director of Extra-Mural Studies, Edinburgh University 1966-79; married (two sons); died Edinburgh 5 April 1995.

True gripes : Basil, please brush off

Urban foxes are a pain. Who needs them?

The last modernist monster

William Scammell salutes the late great Basil Bunting mxczx xcvzx zxarbkjdnfikz nvkfzi zxfkgh kxl nvx;lfijiu;d

Interactive novel for the brave exec

Today I bring you a complete novel, a mini-novel short enough for all businessman who simply don't have the time to read any novel longer than about six inches. It's what we call an interactive novel - in other words, you are the hero and whenever we come to an exciting bit, I give you four options for continuation and you must choose the right one before we go on.

OBITUARIES : The Rev Professor Basil Hall

Basil Hall was one of the finest Church historians in Britain. He pursued excellence, and the result was that for a man of his outstanding gifts and knowledge he published little - a book of essays, Protestants and Humanists, and a number of indi vidual essays and chapters in books. These are very fine and break new ground in a whole range of topics. He was asked to write a chapter on the history of the English Bible and was assured that it should only take him a couple of months. He spent more t han two years on it. It is definitive.

Edinburgh Festival Day 1: Reviews: Dorian Crook with Sir Bernard Chumley

Sir Bernard Chumley makes for a startling spectacle. Combining the jowled countenance of an obese nine-year-old with the attire and mannerisms of an elderly country squire, he holds forth with likely reminiscences of a life in the theatre; like the time he defecated over Felicity Kendal, and other dull old actorly tales you've heard again and again from such luminaries as Peter Ustinov. Mid- stream, he breaks out of character to bark some unintelligible abuse at himself, before lapsing back into raconteur mode with a dignified toss of his rug. Dorian Crook, meanwhile, specialises in the sort of intricate punning Basil Brush fans might appreciate. He was voted The Face's 'Hot Tip for 1994', presumably more for his natty dress sense than comedic ability. Still, Chumley's the chap; as cult as they come.

Gardening: Herbal and verbal comforts: Who can resist a plant called 'hyssop'? Not Anna Pavord, relishing a hotel herb garden in Norfolk with 450 varieties

How many people, when they plant hyssop, the aromatic perennial herb flowering now in blue, white and pink, really believe they are going to brew hyssop teas, distil hyssop oil, or marshal the local bees to produce hyssop honey? We just like the idea that one day we might. Having hyssop makes us feel comfortable. It reassures us that we have not entirely cut ourselves adrift from a long tradition of folk knowledge and thrifty housekeeping.

Catching the flavour of the sun: My summer with basil: our cookery writer indulges in her seasonal fling

Much as I like the idea of fancy basils (cinnamon basil, lemon basil, purple basil et al), there are just two types that really matter in the kitchen.

Gardening: Cuttings: Day of basil

THE Museum of Garden History has arranged a day course on 'The Pot of Basil and the Summer Herb Garden' on 28 July (10am-3pm). Caroline Holmes is in charge, and tickets are available (pounds 40) from the museum at Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB (071-261 1891).
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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine